Many of my friends know I like to go to the auctions and always ask if they can go. I question as to why they have never been and the answer is always the same. " I wouldn't have a clue what to do". Then they say, but I love the auctions! I was the same way so this is what I did. I went to my first auction by myself and just watched the goings on. I didn't have a clue, but I had lots of fun anyway! To make it easy for you I will try to explain what happens and what you should know to make yourself more comfortable. It doesn't matter what you do in life, preparation can relieve much of your stress.
Auctions have a time slot before the auction so you can go and take a look at the inventory. My advise is make sure you do this. You cannot return anything you buy at an auction. Look for cracks , broken articles and most items have something written on them somewhere that will give you a little history. Have a pen and paper and write down what you are interested in and make note of it's condition. If you're into collectibles like maybe Coca Cola, check to see if the piece is a replica. What is great today is the simplicity of reaching your phone accessing the internet and researching anything which can be a bonus if you have the time. So you have had a good look around and you're wondering what to do next. Take a good look around the room and figure out where the auctioneer is going to be. You're early so grab a seat. You can stand if you want, that's up to you. If it's your first auction, I suggest sitting as it can be a long night and you will get tired. Sit where the auctioneer can see you. This is important if you want the auctioneer to see your bid if you decide to do so. You will see signs at the auction that will say no seats reserved. If you follow that rule you will end up standing and the only one to follow the rule. Put your coat over the chair and make your way up to the reception area and get your auction number. If you want to bid you have to have a number. It doesn't mean you have to make a bid, but if you do and win the bid, the auctioneers helper will need to write it down, so when you leave the auction they know what item you got and the cost. Make sure you write down what you bought and for how much on the back of the card they gave you which displays your auction number.
If you look around somewhere you will find an area where you can buy a hot dog, burger, fries and maybe some pie! Most auctions, on Friday nights anyway, is usually around supper time if you want to go to the viewing first. Skip supper and go early and eat at the auction would be my advise. Have a seat and eat your burger and relax and become familiar with your surroundings. Watch all the different characters and have yourself a good laugh. The auction is starting in ten minutes! This may sound trivial but trust me you just had a coke and in about and hour it's going to want to leave you just when your item of interest just comes up. If you brought someone with you, which is a good idea, go to the bathroom in turns so you don't leave your seats up for grabs. To my experience it's the only time the seat rule comes into affect. You come back to your seat and someone is sitting on your coat. They will remind you of the rule while they place their coat on the seat beside them to save it for their spouse. It's part of the auction game so make sure you take note to stay in the game. If you saw some smaller items while viewing and you're planning on bidding on them, make sure you do this first! Somewhere in the auction will be a place where you can pick out a few boxes. I suggest you do this or it will remind you of the last time you were at the Dollaramma and thought you didn't need a basket and now you find yourself juggling to the cashier. Again make sure someone stays at your seats.
So the auctioneer has just appeared and people will start making there way to their seats. The auctioneer will probably say a few words about the auction and where the articles came from and try to quiet the rooms and prepare his or her audience for the sale. You will be surprised at how many people are around you and wondering who they could be. Well, there's your local used furniture store owner and a group of antique dealers, and what seems to be a whole farm convention and of course all the regulars. The regulars just simply enjoy the auction atmosphere, the pie, and a Friday night visit with their neighbors and the group the auctioneer usually gets frustrated with because of the noise level. There's always a good nose level and it doesn't matter how much the auctioneer screams, the level stays the same. You have to stay focused. Kind of like doing a math test while sitting in a chicken coop.
Ok, the auction has started and it's your first time and you're nervous to make a bid, what to do? Do nothing just sit watch and enjoy and see how it works. Treat it like a educational seminar. It doesn't take long before you begin to see how it works, how to bid and how to behave.
When you were looking around prior to the auction you saw something you really liked and you can see that it is coming up soon. Here's your chance! Decide how much it is worth to you. That's it nothing else! If you see a coke tin for example and you decide to bid on it. Decide what you will pay, this is important. Hold up your card with the number on it, the one you got earlier from the receptionist. Make sure the auctioneer can see you. When you're first starting out make sure you don't go over that number. It doesn't matter if you win the bid or not because you have just gone through the experience and the next time will be just around the corner, trust me your hooked!
You will often hear people at the auction say wow there is a lot of dealers here! Ignore it! At this stage it's all for fun and who cares really. You have to remember that it is a business for them. They have to make money on everything they buy so paying too much for something is out of the question most of the time. The used furniture store owner is the same, they have to make money from the items also. These people will stand out to you quickly, don't be concerned. Don't let them stop you from bidding, they will only go after the item as long as they can make money from it. Remember you have already decided what you would pay and you're not going over that number anyway. It's your first auction and you have more information now so just go with the flow.
When you have decided you have had enough, simply get up and walk over to the reception area and pay for your items and yes they are taxed. During the auction you will see someone walk up to the auctioneers table and grab a sheet of paper and walk it to the reception area. This sheet contains the articles that have been purchased and the number they belong to. If you just bought something and decided to leave the sheet may have not made it to the cashier yet so keep that in mind. Add up your articles before going to the cashier. You should have written this down on your number card. Mistakes are made so check your numbers.
I hope I have given you enough information to allow you to make the next step and look forward to seeing you at the next auction. In the future I will write an article on how to make money at the auction once you have had a chance to try it out. Hopefully the next thing you will hear is SOLD to No# ....
So you're a little wiser and this is what you should remember.
It's your first time and there is no obligation to buy anything. Only take the money with you that you can afford to spend. This is a very simple way of controlling your spending. Go early and make sure you get a good look at the items and if you don't you could be very disappointed. Grab a bidding card and a pen to make notes on the back of the card. It's nice to know what you have spent before you go up to pay. Get a good seat, if not you will have to stand with the late comers and may find it hard to see or bid. Remember the seating rule then ignore it. Find where they keep the boxes which will usually have a pile of news papers near by. Take some they are great for packing. Just set the box under your seat. Find the bathroom and do your business now or you can wait until your item comes up, that's always fun. Try to make eye contact with the auctioneer before things start. He or she will recognize you as new and you're now noticed. They will now see you when your card is held high. Most of all have fun and the whole experience can be cheaper than date night! Hope to see you there!!